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Our Collective Thoughts and Feelings on “The Heart of the Matter”


We measured the feelings of our CRI members with a thought provoking question at our monthly meeting in May. We asked “What is the heart of this work to you?”  Our question provided a basis for why our efforts to raise the personal and public awareness about stress and trauma are so powerful!   Twenty- three members and three guests sat around 5 tables and shared their passion about the trauma informed work we’re all doing. Poster paper was used at each table as members spelled out the key points that are most meaningful to each member. If you were unable to attend the meeting, that’s okay. Below is a list of quotes we captured from the members.

And, because our activity gathered such wonderful responses, we asked the same question (“What is the heart of this work to you?”) to other CRI partners in an electronic survey. These responses are also found below under the heading Survey Monkey Responses (post-meeting).

We then looked for common themes, summarized the responses, and created the five groupings used at the Beyond Paper Tigers conference: Safety, Connection, Self-awareness, Unity, Bettering the community (To Live, To love, To learn, To Link, To Leave a Legacy). Refer to the graphic at the end of the notes summarizing this step.

Select your favorites and tell us about your thoughts ( Which quotes have the most meaning? Which quotes would assist the kind of change you would like to see?

May 2016 Monthly Meeting (“What is the heart of this work to you?”)

Table 1 - Susann, Stan, Heather, Liz, Sergio, Laure

  • You can make your future
  • Opportunities for growth
  • Re-framing mindsets - Fixed vs Growth
  • A safety magnet for kids - patience, trusting the process over time
  • Hope
  • Heart work
  • You aren’t what happened to you
  • Brain chemistry is not destiny
  • You are welcome here - we know you - no judgement
  • The power of that “one” relationship

Table 2 - Brooke, Jim, Yolanda, Annett, Teri

  • Self awareness - awareness of others - a better agent of change than consequences
  • Expect positive intent
  • Awareness: Dysregulation, damage caused from traditional/punitive discipline.
  • Giving the community the skills to deal with the unknown and unexpected
  • Staying regulated myself
  • Body having an unhealthy response
  • Changing mindset - fixed vs growth - behavior side - behavior of others isn’t me
  • Connection, family, kindness, understanding
  • Building positive relationship.
  • Building family structure and then taking steps to make change. (use it!)
  • Choose your new family/village
  • Breaking down barriers involving judgment
  • Finding patience in building relationships and trusting the process
  • Safety to bring it forward
  • ACEs is a silent disease - opportunities for the wounded to come out and heal
  • Remove barriers that keep us in shame
  • We don’t need to hide
  • Hope, healing, safe environment
  • All kids deserve this
  • Every child, every family, every adult (need to know this powerful material)
  • Look at me
  • So many wounded who don’t get to tell story to heal
  • Taking away the stereotypical face of trauma

Table 3 - Tory Henderson (guest, Dept. of Health, Olympia), Lane, Kristi Slette (guest, Whatcom Co.), Don

  • All kids deserve to know what safe means
  • Meeting with myself profoundly so I can meet with others profoundly
  • Looking for safe words, safe places
  • Deeper understanding growing over time
  • Keep learning
  • How does the work become about “me”?
  • Can’t be the only person giving
  • All children deserve to be safe
  • How do we talk about/reflect on the broken spaces?
  • Building adult skins
  • Responding to environments with incredible skill set
  • What fires together wires together
  • Have to choose to trust
  • Harness the power of Spanish. How would you say this from a Spanish language, youth perspective?
  • Up to the 7th generation, reversal of the brain architecture function can return
  • Self-care
  • It makes us more real - vulnerability aids connection
  • The work lived out in stories - The stories make it real
  • Broken spaces can heal stronger - not always
  • Mindset change across the community
  • Safe to be yourself. Safe words. Safe places.
  • All children (people) deserve to know what safety is
  • Many have skillfully adapted to adversity
  • This work makes us more real to one another
  • Vulnerability and connection
  • Flourishing
  • What is beyond the crisis? What does that mean for individuals?
  • Beyond ACEs / ACEs and beyond
  • Understand how our brains work - use it to support and understand how we work

Table 4 - Linda, Sonia, Allison, Jenny, Ty, Deborah

  • Trauma = Unresolved emotional pain
  • We learn our world through experience
  • It shouldn’t hurt to be a child
  • Supporting and teaching social and emotional skills
  • Self awareness and self reflection
  • Stop and think about how I’m feeling and what I need
  • ACEs philosophy can encompass one’s entire worldview - view, behavior
  • Changing hearts to change minds
  • Embrace the wonder and delight of uncertainty and change
  • Expanded definition and concept of safety
  • Behavior is an outcome of one’s social environment, not a choice.
  • Treat people with an assumption of positive intent.
  • Open mindset
  • You’re awesome
  • Emotional intelligence coaching
  • Learn through experience
  • The only thing we can control is our reaction to what life puts before us
  • We need to address the origins of behavior rather than penalizing.
  • Compassionate Guidance
  • Children are learners that lack maturity
  • We need leadership that guides appropriate behavior, not control.
  • Need for more awareness of emotional states
  • Teaching the intangibles: How to ingrain grit in students

Table 5 - Jim, Jennifer, J. Andrew, Geof Morgan (guest, Whatcom Co.)

  • Self Awareness - Parents need to recognize their triggers and the etiology of these triggers.
  • Mental Health
  • Aces effects everyone in various degrees
  • There is no cure to ACEs.
  • Child mentoring provides the antidote to the effects of ACEs
  • Child mentoring provides a way to positively maneuver past ACEs that we all have.
  • The power of that one relationship.
  • Rosetta Stone of the ACEs behavior gives tools in which not to react.
  • Rosetta Stone of ACEs are the tools of not doing anything except listening
  • Translating into any language - think about this
  • Reducing triggers so we can see each other.
  • Your behavior is not who you are.
  • Embrace the child, not his despair.
  • This is not about punishment. Address the problem, not the people.
  • Shift away from punishment to what’s the behavior communicating?
  • What causes a kid to go quiet?


Survey Monkey Responses (post-meeting)

  • Empowering! Enlightening for the uninformed and misinformed population and attitude changing for those with biased opinions of youth and young adult lifestyles.
  • Compassionate, informed teaching and parenting build resilience and the ability to learn effectively.
  • I want to teach these girls they are not a loss cause. That they don't have to continue the cycle. Their value is in more than their labels and that there are people in this world that only want the best for them. Teach them to find those people and hold on to them like a precious stone.
  • Hope, inspiration, kindness, understanding, genuine, compassion.
  • All kids matter
  • Understanding
  • This work means walking with someone. Providing opportunities for skill-building, gentle listening, compassionate feedback, and collaborative understanding.
  • Giving children hope by teaching them that they are loved and worthy and how it (love) is stronger than hate.
  • The heart of this work is educating everyone about Adverse Childhood experiences and providing experiences to learn Resilience techniques. I feel that CRI gives everyone a focus to this important work and helps us all "move forward" with new techniques and information. It keeps us on the "pulse" of this important information.
  • Bringing awareness to providers and parents of where behavior stems from.
  • The realization that this affects everyone, in all walks of life.
  •  My heart lies with the fact that things we feel, choices we make, paths that we take can be rooted in our past. The negative ones can be explained and viewed with an eye towards a resiliency and a positive future, rather than a doomed existence. I have seen first hand how this knowledge has helped children and adults shift their mindset and grown in their life and approach to life.
  • The heart of the work is making sure the professional community as well as the general population understands the crisis we are facing. From there, the biggest step is to make sure we all understand there is hope for positive changes, but it takes time, commitment, and personal adjustment to how we react individually and the solutions we make as a whole
  • I see the heart of my work as helping parents who have been raised with a punishment model of parenting to shift their thinking in their approach with their own children. I help them see the benefits of recognizing their own emotional upsets and teaching their children to do so as well. This not only helps children improve their decision making skills but also increases positive interactions and overall the relationships of the family.
  • Helping students learn to deal with crises by giving them tools to learn their triggers so they are able to move from the fight, flight or freeze stage to a logical thinking stage. Also all the while learning yourself what are your triggers and how to keep yourself in the cerebral cortex thinking portion of the brain.
  • The heart of CRI's work is humanity. The humanitarian Jean Vanier says "we are fragile and vulnerable...yet we live in a world where we're frightened of each other. We close up behind groups and there, in some ways, we destroy our humanity." We need to see the common thread among all of us: that there's no shame in needing others to thrive.
  • I am truly grateful for the awakening that is happening across our planet as science is discovering the power of love. For every person that is touched by this work, 10 more are touched by that person. Each of us is a unique formula for the multiplication of love.


The Five Themes


This is the two-sided postcard we used at the conference to represent our learning.


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